The new and improved Skinny Barb

Yes, I did it again, this time skinnier and with back pockets.

With reversed half red – half blue legs (totally unintentional)

They now have ankle zips

And top-stitched elastic waistband

I’m thinking of making a matching jacket. I need to build my jacket making skills and wouldn’t it be fun to have a crazy floral print two piece?

Burda 8/2014 103 or the million pieces dress

Actually there are only 14, but still…

It was love at first sight with this dress. I don’t know why it took me so long to make it. This is actually a test, I don’t love these colors together, but this ponte I had around was a suitable fabric to test the pattern. And luckily for me, the pattern fits! There are some obviously changes I made:

1. added sleeves – I like my dresses with sleeves, don’t really get the little wings Burda keeps using for all their dresses. The sleeves are from an older Burda dress, same size as the one I used for this one, 38

2. I made it a lot shorter, probably close to 20cm shorter. This makes the dress a bit unbalanced, the proportions are now a bit off with so much white at the top and so little at the bottom. Oh, well!

3. Because I shortened it I didn’t feel like raising the back vent and dropped it completely. I never made one before and I didn’t want to start now :D

4. I did some kind of sway back alteration, as in I started sewing the skirt to the top at the sides using a 1/4 seam allowance and I gradually went to a 1/2 seam allowance at center back.

The pattern doesn’t have  facings, and while they are very easy to make yourself, I thought that the neckline would get to bulky. So I sewed the lining directly to the dress at the neck and then I pick stitched the neckline to keep the lining from showing. I did understitch as well, but I felt that it wasn’t enough. The lining is a very light elastic lining so I was worried that it would get dragged out by the heavy outer fabric. I used Sherry’s wonderful tutorial for sewing the lining using the machine.

Looking at the dress, you’d think sewing it it’s going to take forever. It only took me about 3 hours from start to finish, BUT I did skip ironing. Naughty, naughty! The ponte is very forgiving with fit and pressing, but I do need to press that center back seam below the zip :|. I think tracing the pattern took longer, because DID YOU SEE THE AUGUST PATTERN SHEETS???!! Sorry for the caps but they are atrocious! Fortunately the September sheets don’t look as bad, so hopefully this was a one off.

Ok, so I don’t love the colors , but I love the dress, the fabric makes it super comfortable for a sheath dress and I’ll probably wear it again. Because  I did wear it yesterday to work and everyone loved it. Or they say they did :)

Skinny Barb

I haven’t tried any StyleArc pattern until now, not because I don’t like them, but I keep hearing how expensive shipping is. To be honest, I never checked, I have no idea how much it costs. Recently I found out about one of their free PDF pattern – Barb - I think it’s their only PDF pattern. I think you can still download it, and you get the size you choose, plus the two nearest, each of them comes in a separate file.

It’s a very simple pattern, it has only 3 pieces – front back and waistband. I went for size 10 based on my measurements and I think 8 would’ve been better. After sewing them I decided to take them in and make them skinny. I don’t have a “before” photo, but straight trousers don’t look very good on me, I need to go to the extremes :)

I was looking after a bird :D

The waistband sits pretty high, but I’m short so it might be just right for people with a normal height. The pattern requires 5cm wide elastic for the waistband.

The fabric is a stretch cotton I bought from Saeed Fabrics in Walthamstow Market. It was £8/m, expensive compared to what you can buy there, but there weren’t many stretch cottons available then, AND it has spots!

Two weeks ago I went back to Walthamstow and found a generous selection of stretch cottons so I have another pair of skinny Barbs planned. I will however make the following changes:

1. Make the waistband 1 cm narrower. I have plenty of 4cm wide elastic and no 5cm and it’s too high anyway.

2. The waistband has the same pattern piece for front and back, but the front and back of the pattern are different widths. I think I will change the waistband to reflect that.

3. I will add back pockets. I need a place to keep my Oyster and they make the backside look smaller.

4. I will make them even skinnier and add metallic exposed zippers at the hem. Probably in different colors because I don’t think I have a matching pair, but the fabric I’ll be using next is a colorful print, so it should be fine.

I wore the spotty pair 3 times last week, this would’ve been a good pattern for OWOP. They are comfortable enough to do this

This photo took a lot of hard work!

Soo, does anyway know how much the shipping costs for StyleArc patterns? I really like this jacket, similar to an out of print Vogue. I’m also worried about customs, I paid 30% in VAT and custom fees for an already expensive yarn I bought from US.

Monique Jacket

Patrones twopiecesetacular

I started working on this set a long long time ago (I can still remember :) ), right after Alder and before the cuffed shorts. I had it in mind for a while and then Sophie started talking about two piece sets. I loved this cotton silk voile and I wasn’t sure if I would wear a white dress too often, so a deux pieces was the answer!

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The fabric was a gift from a friend I met online. She came to London two months ago and we finally met IRL ☺. Thank you, Olga!
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As I said, the fabric is a cotton silk voile and I had to underline it for decency. This meant extra work – I had to cut each piece twice and baste the layers together. All the seams are french or hand flat felled and the hems and bias bindings around the neck and arms are slip stitched to the underlining.
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I didn’t know how to use interfacing when underlining was involved,so I skipped it and use narrow ribbon for the pocket openings.
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Both patterns are from a Patrones magazine, I used size 44 but I think 40 would’ve worked better, for the blouse at least. I didn’t have enough fabric for the button placket and cuffs. The placket would get lost in the print anyway, but I am a bit sad I didn’t have enough for the cuffs.
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I didn’t get to wear the set more than once, August was very cold this year. But I did wear the top a few times, it looks nice with skinny trousers (and there’s a spotty pair I need to show you)
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Burda 6/2010 cuffed shorts

This was the most challenging project I’ve worked on lately. There were so many things that went wrong from the beginning, I’m amazed I didn’t give up.

I’ll make a summary here, using a numbered list. I didn’t count them before, it will be a surprise for me too :)

1. Cutting – I only had 60 cm of this black cotton sateen and I carefully placed all my pattern pieces on it to see if I had enough fabric. Lucky for me (or not?) I’m so short that 60 cm is enough for a pair of shorts. Well, almost enough, because there wasn’t enough to include seam allowances in the back legs. But that wasn’t that big of a problem.

2. Cutting – because of fabric constraints again, I had to cut the belt loops separately. sewing the belt loops in one piece and cutting them after is so much easier.

 

3. Welt pockets – I applied the fusible interfacing for the welt pockets after sewing the dart. The fabric wasn’t laying flat, you can imagine the result. 

4. Front pockets – Burda usually has you cut the pocket facing in one piece from the main fabric. But since I didn’t have enough fabric, I slashed that piece and cut it from both the main fabric and lining. I probably messed up the seam allowances, because the back pocket pieces turned out huge compared to the front ones.

5. Front pockets – I applied interfacing on the right side of the fabric. I realised this soon enough, I was able to rip it up and press it on the wrong side.

6. I remember unpicking some seams, not sure where and why, but you can never forget unpicking seams in black fabric.

7. There is that weird pulling on the right front. I think I used a longer wider allowance when I sewn the waistband to that part of the front, where the drag lines start.

8. I almost forgot this one – the welts are different sizes, one is wider than the other.

I would say 8 is not a  lot, but not too little either. Still, despite that drag line, I see these shorts as very wearable. I think they look pretty good considering what I went through making them. The fly gave me a bit of trouble as well, I don’t enjoy sewing zip flies (is that the plural?), but it turned out ok. I used Jen’s tutorial, but I will try another one next time. I hand sewn the top of the cuffs to the pants, so they don’t sag and/or get out of shape in the wash. 

I had two cuffed shorts patterns in my Burda collection. The other one didn’t have the pleats and were shorter. I chose this pattern because they are very similar to a RTW pair I love. They are the exact same length – they end exactly were my thighs get slimmer :D

see those drag lines? not visible in every image i have, but very visible here.

I wanted to wear that belt but somebody else had other plans :)

Alder shirt dress or How I learned yo use my Featherweight

Almost 2 months ago I won a Singer Featherweight on eBay and almost two weeks later it was found in a recycling bin a few streets away from my house. Thank you, Hermes, I promise never to use your services again! Lucky for me,  the nice gentleman who found it in its bin before collection day was so kind to bring her to me. I tested her and it wad working fine overall, but there wasn’t enough pressure in the foot to keep the fabric from shifting under it. I googled a bit and found a service manual and I finally got around fixing the foot height.

Singer Featherweight

My black beauty

 

Alder was next on my list, so this is my first completed garment using her.
I bough the pdf version of Alder the day it was released. I couldn’t wait for the print pattern, I was waiting since May, when Jen was posting selfies next to her fridge wearing different versions of Alder :). I had 2.5m of chambray bought from the man outside Sainsbury’s which was perfect for view B of the dress, the first view I wanted to try. I remember I only wanted to buy 1.5m but there were 2.5 left on the roll and I was offered the full length for the price of 2m. Yes, please!
I traced size 10 based on the measurements I knew I had and after measuring the pattern, made a tiny petite alteration at armscye level and made a muslin. And the muslin was tight at the bust. And the pattern said there should be enough ease. I measured my self again. Aha! Looks like the last couple of months of not running added a few cm here and there :| .  Anyway,  the muslin was looking ok at the shoulders and back so I made a full bust adjustment (my first) and removed another half of inch at the bust level to raise the dart and shorten the bodice a little more.

Last weekend I cut and sewed the dress. It all went smooth and fairly quick, except for those little mistakes when I sewed the darts on the right side and then I was left with a bit more collar stand at the end of the neckline and I had to chop a bit off. Other than that, the collar was really easy to sew, don’t know why I was so scared of it. I can see more shirts in my future :)

It was really easy to top stitch close to the edge with this machine, I just aligned the edge of the fabric with the inner right edge of the foot.

And here is the dress, in all its flowy wrinkled glory :)

There are a few things I’ll try to do better next time:

1. Stay-stitch the waist, even if it’s a straight line, and press, don’t iron! The waist ended up 4in/10cm wider than the pattern. It’s more obvious in this picture. HUGE.

2. There are some drag lines at the back armscye area. The dress is not tight there, you can see there is some ease around center back. Even though the lines point to the sides, I tried pinching the shoulder seam close to the shoulder, and that seemed to fix the issue. I need to experiment with the shoulder angle a bit. Or maybe it’s the ironing again?

3. The center front drops a little, there are some drag lines there as well. It’s either the snaps are too heavy or again, I ironed the fabric out of shape.

This weekend I cut fabric for two pair of shorts and one top. I don’t like working on more projects at a time, but 2 of them require a lot of hand sewing and I didn’t want to ignore my sewing machine for too long :)

Abstract print Scout dress

I try to sew one project per week. I usually start with cutting/pressing/interfacing during the week and then I sew on weekends. Depending on how much time I have I will choose a quick project or a more elaborate one. Last weekend was a busy one – with a visit to the science museum on Saturday and a day trip to Brighton on Sunday there wasn’t much time left for sewing. So I made this dress on Friday evening and only left the buttonhole for Saturday morning.

The print needed a simple dress, so I merged the Scout pattern with an old dress I like and came up with this “pattern”. I only made Scout once after applying my petite alterations and it turned ok-ish, but after making this dress I think I went a little overboard. I removed 2cm (3/4′) in length from the armscye  area and it’s a bit too tight now. I reprinted the pattern and plan to remove only half that amount. Also, looks like I didn’t alter the sleeve as well, or not enough, because there was a lot of ease in there. I just made two pleats, I didn’t want a gathered sleeve on this dress.

I didn’t use a zip, since the fit is very loose (even though there are two fish eye darts at the back), I just made short slit at center back and closed it with a button and thread loop.

The fabric is cotton bought from Walthamstow Market on a Saturday, from the man outside Sainsbury’s :) . Karen used the same print  for April Rhodes’ Staple Dress, I like the colors on her dress, the bright green (yellow?) seems more appropriate for the print.

It was really windy that Saturday and I couldn’t take any nice photos of my back, the wind made the dress look like a jumpsuit – an unflattering jumpsuit :)

So there it is. Today I’m taking photos of this weekend’s project – the Alder shirt dress. Yes, I spent all Sunday sewing it :)

 

Peacockish

The title describes not only my skirt, but myself as well. I strutted this skirt last weekend with a peafowl worthy attitude.

I bought 2m of this fabric from Goldhawk Road at the sewing meetup. I thought 2m would be enough for a maxi skirt in my size, but I should have paid more attention when drafting the skirt pieces. I almost didn’t have enough for the waistband, I had to sew 3 pieces of fabric together to have enough. The bias seam line is not my idea.

Pieced waistband sewn on the bias to avoid bulk

I searched for inspiration online, trying to find a maxi skirt that wasn’t just a gathered rectangle. I initially thought of using the skirt panels from Anna but I didn’t want to have so many vertical seams, even though they wouldn’t be very visible in this print. I started going through my patterns/Burda magazines to see what I could use and in the February issue of Burda there was this skirt that looked a bit lot (can’t decide) like Gabriola.

I used the top panels from this pattern and drafted the bottom panels myself. I basically draw a straight skirt starting with the Burda panels as the top of my skirt, cut them at the diagonal lines and then I slashed and spread the bottom panels making them as wide as my fabric was. I added a bit to the length just to make sure it will be long enough. I forgot I needed a waistband too!! That is why i ended up piecing the waistband and in the end I had to remove 7 cm from the bottom of the skirt :( . And that was not my only mistake. When I bought the fabric and as I was drawing the pattern, I kept remembering myself to cut everything in one direction, with the feathers going top to bottom. Guess what? I cut my front the other way around… I was so upset, I almost didn’t want to go on with the skirt. But after 2 days of agony I finally decided that it’s not SUCH a big problem and it’s not really that visible either.

But I still felt that I needed to make up for all the mistakes somehow. I’ve recently re-stumbled upon one of Susan Khalje’s videos for Threads magazine where she is talking/showing techniques for building waistbands. I decide to give the 4 layers+ ribbon waistband a try – my fabric was light enough to handle this kind of treatment.

I decided to try other couture techniques as well, so I went ahead with the snap (popper) and hook and thread bars for closure, fell stitched waistband and lining, hand picked zipper, catch stitched seam allowances and 4 point loops for hanging the skirt. I don’t think i forgot anything, this should be it :)

I lined the top panels with a cotton silk lawn. It’s very light, but in combination with the main fabric it should be enough to hide my underwear. :)

Unfortunately this lead to some puffing in the back, I think the lining is slightly shorter than the shell and there is some bulging at the bottom of the zipper, I need to trim the seam allowances in that corner. There are a lot of seams that meet there. I’ll try to steam press it after trimming, I hope it will get better. I will need to take another round of photos, as I wasn’t able to see this problem before. My mirror must be deceiving :)

Oh, there is one more thing I wanted to say about the thread bars – if you decide to use them – sew them tightly, they get looser with wear. I let them a bit loose and they have stretched more.

I am very happy with the ribbon waistband – it springs back flat after sitting, something that doesn’t always happens with an interfaced waistband.

And that’s my Scout, in case you’re wondering. I don’t think there’s much wear left in it, it’s been on a “at least twice a week” program for many moths now. I’m finishing this post and I’m going to cut two more. :)

Have a nice sunny Sunday everyone! :)

Me made fail but sew indie May

My MeMadeMay pledge was to wear something handmade every day, and I was so sure I was going to make it. I mean, I have so many nice dresses! But it turns out I overestimated my wardrobe and sick days are not the perfect occasion to wear nice dresses. But it wasn’t only sick days when I didn’t wear me made. What I realized this month is that I (like to ) wear separates more than dresses. My #1 memade was my Scout woven tee, I wore this top close to ten times. The fabric is so soft now, after so many washes. So yeah, I need to make me some more Scouts and other separates.

I was going to join the Clara dress sew along but I want to make at least 3-4 separates before I make another dress – I’m thinking trousers, a skirt and a couple of Scouts.

May sewing plans included Clara, but I didn’t have time anyway. Other than that I’ve done everything on that list. I started working on the Movies in the park shorts a long time ago, in the first few days of May. A funny thing happened with this pattern. There is a dart on the back piece, but on my printed pattern the dart had no “legs”

I googled the pattern and only found two other reviews, but none of them mentioned the missing dart. I decided to make it 7 cm long and compared the width of the back piece to the back waistband to find out how wide the dart should be. After I finished the shorts I thought about checking the pattern on my laptop. The dart was there! Weird! It just didn’t print. But I was right about the length, so all is good. :)

I’m very happy with my stitch in the ditch here! Not so happy about the binding, this is what happens if you don’t start at the very top – hand sewing required.

Can you see the stitching below the waistband? Neither can I :)

And I’m happy with my matching buttons

I didn’t want so many buttons as in the original pattern, so I used only 3 on each side, and stitch the side seams together. The only functional buttons/buttonholes are the ones on the left.

After trying them on I decided they need a small adjustment on the crotch. The image below is not mine, I only did the crotch adjustment after reading Emma Jayne’s post.

Enough about the shorts, let’s move on to the t-shirt. The free t-shirt! I like my Plantain, but I wanted something more… classic? Tonic seemed perfect. The pattern is made for petites, so I didn’t have to shorten anything. I usually have to narrow the shoulders on patterns, and with this one I decided to cut a size M on the sides and go to a S at the shoulders. Not the best idea. Being for  petites, the shoulders are already narrow too. I’ll use a straight M next time.

I  didn’t follow the instructions for inserting the neckband flat. I don’t feel confident enough to stretch it without measuring before and pin it in at least 4, but usually 8 points. And I like the clean finish I get with inserting the band in the round AND sewing it together on the bias.

Whoa, this is a lot of information for only one post. I hope your MMMay2014 went better. But I think I’m on the right track now, at least I know what I need. Separates and more workouts. Here is my favorite weight lifting routine: